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Monthly Archives: June 2005

Ashes to Ashes

June 9th, 2005 - 10:46 pm

Big things afoot at NASA:

A massive reorganization has begun at NASA. NASA Administrator Mike Griffin has begun the process by sending out formal notices to more than 50 senior NASA managers aprising them of pending changes in their job titles.

One person has already resigned. Associate Administrator for NASA’s Exploration Systems Mission Directorate, Adm. Craig Steidle, tendered his resignation today effective 24 June 2005.

Changes will occur across all of the agency’s activities – except human space flight – those changes come later after both the STS-114 and STS-121 missions have been completed.

Waaaay past due, if you ask me.

(Hat tip: Gen-you-wine rocket scientist Ed Lambert.)

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June 9th, 2005 - 6:27 pm

Just a quick update on the Mac-Intel story. First, Jeff Harrell crawfishes (okay, just a little) regarding OS X running on stock Intel hardware. Second, Bob Cringley (real name Mark Stephens, once one of Apple’s original employees and now a tech writer/reporter) thinks this is all part of a grand plan for Intel to shove Microsoft aside in favor of Apple. Here’s the kicker section:

Intel is fed up with Microsoft. Microsoft has no innovation that drives what Intel must have, which is a use for more processing power. And when they did have one with the Xbox, they went elsewhere.

So Intel buys Apple and works with their OEMs to get products out in the market. The OEMs would love to be able to offer a higher margin product with better reliability than Microsoft. Intel/Apple enters the market just as Microsoft announces yet another delay in their next generation OS. By the way, the new Apple OS for the Intel Architecture has a compatibility mode with Windows (I’m just guessing on this one).

This scenario works well for everyone except Microsoft. If Intel was able to own the Mac OS and make it available to all the OEMs, it could break the back of Microsoft.

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It’s a Dishonor Just to be Nominated

June 9th, 2005 - 12:27 pm

You’ve got to be kidding me:

WASHINGTON, June 9 /U.S. Newswire/ — Journalists who risked jail in the United States-and their lives and livelihoods in Ukraine-were among the top recipients of this year’s 32nd annual National Press Club journalism awards.

The 32 winners were selected from an outstanding collection of entries in categories ranging from freedom of the press to environmental reporting to humor writing.

“The National Press Club honors the superb work of some of the best journalists in the world,” said National Press Club President Rick Dunham. “The judges were impressed with work that was insightful and compelling on subjects ranging from the power of Washington lobbyists to the failures of assisted living caregivers.”

[snipped bits]

– National Press Club Online Journalism Award, distinguished online contribution: Diana K. Sugg, The Baltimore Sun; Honorable Mention, Steve Lovelady & Staff, CampaignDesk.org; Harriet Ryan & Staff, CourtTV.com. [emphasis added]

What were they thinking?

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A Worthy Cause

June 9th, 2005 - 12:05 pm

This is the most sensible way to reveal terrorists – ever.

(Hat tip: Tom McMahon.)

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Blast From The Past

June 9th, 2005 - 4:54 am

Well, my past, anyway.

You know you’re getting older when your classmates are being appointed to Supreme Courts:

Gov. Sonny Perdue named his top legal adviser to the state Supreme Court in the first appointment by a Republican governor to Georgia’s highest court in 137 years.

Harold D. Melton, 38, becomes the third African-American on the seven-member court. He will fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Chief Justice Norman Fletcher at the end of the month.

State House Speaker Glenn Richardson (R-Hiram) applauded the appointment. “He exemplifies the kind of common sense, conservative values that reflect the core beliefs of Georgians,” the speaker said.

The appointment is expected to have a lasting impact on the court. No Georgia justice has ever lost a re-election bid. Justices serve six-year terms, but the term Melton will fill expires at the end of 2008, when he can stand for election to a full term.

Harold David Melton was born in Washington in 1966 when his father worked as an airport inspector for the Federal Aviation Administration. His parents moved to East Point when he was 5 and later moved to Marietta, where he attended Wheeler High School. Melton was the first black student body president at Auburn University. He now lives in Atlanta.

I didn’t know Harold all that well (Auburn is a big school), but I can safely say that he was one of the most widely-liked and respected students of his (our) day. I had no idea that he’d moved so far up in the world, but I’m certainly not surprised. Congratulations to him.

Here’s an anonymous login for the Atlanta paper, if needed.

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A Suggestion

June 8th, 2005 - 9:46 am

In light of the recent calls from opportunists, idiots and appeasers leftie luminaries like Joe Biden, Jimmy Carter, and Thomas Friedman for the US to close the Guantanamo Bay terrorist prison camp and turn the inmates loose, I have a modest suggestion for the Bush Administration: turn loose some facts about the bad guys instead.

There’s very little public information out there about the “detainees,” and as a result, it’s easy for anti-American outfits like Amnesty and the New York Times to project an aura of wronged innocence around the bloodthirsty thugs who’re currently unwilling guests of Uncle Sam. I can’t think of a better way to (a) illustrate the need for keeping these guys locked up and (b) discrediting the Jimmy Carter squishes of the world than releasing dossiers on the known activities of the Islamofascists who’re under lock and key down there.

Once people get a chance to read about the actual history of Abdul al-Terrorist and how he was responsible for scheduling Talaban stonings of gays, or recruiting suicide bombers, or doing logistical planning for 9/11, I doubt very much a Biden would be able to convince them that old Abdul ought to be given a public defender like a common burglar, or even set loose.

Just a thought.

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Required Reading

June 8th, 2005 - 9:34 am

Check out this remarkable WSJ column by Fox News reporter David Asman, whose wife had a stroke shortly after they arrived in London for a vacation. Among other things, it’s an account of how health care works (and doesn’t work) when it’s “free” (and when it isn’t).

Asman’s story will also scare you to death imagining the same thing happening to one of your own loved ones, but read it anyway.

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Pardon the Language

June 8th, 2005 - 12:53 am

Oh, shit:

The World Trade Center Memorial Cultural Complex will be an imposing edifice wedged in the place where the Twin Towers once stood. It will serve as the primary “gateway” to the underground area where the names of the lost are chiseled into concrete. The organizers of its principal tenant, the International Freedom Center (IFC), have stated that they intend to take us on “a journey through the history of freedom”–but do not be fooled into thinking that their idea of freedom is the same as that of those Marines. To the IFC’s organizers, it is not only history’s triumphs that illuminate, but also its failures. The public will have come to see 9/11 but will be given a high-tech, multimedia tutorial about man’s inhumanity to man, from Native American genocide to the lynchings and cross-burnings of the Jim Crow South, from the Third Reich’s Final Solution to the Soviet gulags and beyond. This is a history all should know and learn, but dispensing it over the ashes of Ground Zero is like creating a Museum of Tolerance over the sunken graves of the USS Arizona.

It’s worse than that. Debasing freedom on the site where freedom was attacked, is more akin to giving equal time to The Protocols of the Elders of Zion at the National Holocaust Museum. Why doesn’t the IFC just go on and include a multimedia exhibit of the West’s crimes against Islam?

Actually, it’s worse even than that: It’s treasonous.

Oh, I don’t mean treason in the legal sense. The IFC exhibit provides neither aid nor comfort to the enemy. In any case, I don’t use that word lightly here at VodkaPundit. A search through the archives finds just 11 posts using that word, in almost three and a half years – and never once used as an accusation. In that way, I’m a lot more …sober… than certain Republican talking heads on TV.

But the IFC exhibit is treason to the memory of the nearly 3,000 people who were murdered for the crime of going to work on 9/11/2001. Whatever our nation’s faults, whatever injustices have been committed in our names, no matter what someone might ever have suffered at our hands…

…those are not the stories to tell at the site where the World Trade Center towers once stood. At the site where 3,000 people were burned or crushed or leapt to their deaths. Not at the site where we suffered one of the worst surprise attacks in modern history, and against a civilian target.

We don’t memorialize our war dead by including pictures of them picking their noses. We shouldn’t remember our losses by blaming its victims – or even their great-great-grandfathers. The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier isn’t inscribed with, “What a Fuck-Up, Huh?”

But those are the things that the IFC’s exhibit aims to do.

It must be stopped.

It must. be. stopped.

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Required Reading

June 7th, 2005 - 11:56 pm

Austin Bay, on human trafficking.

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Miller Time

June 7th, 2005 - 11:54 pm

We plugged in the back yard bug zapper on Saturday, and already it’s buzzing and shaking like a meth fiend on a really dirty dose. Why all the fuss? Miller moths.

Here on the Front Range, we get jillions of the little guys every spring. My first year here

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On a Lighter Note

June 7th, 2005 - 11:17 pm


We drove home with the windows down and the music blasting: a

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June 7th, 2005 - 10:33 am

I’m not a Macintosh guy, but I’ve always been sympathetic to the Cause. So I hope John Dvorak is right about Apple’s position:

In the short term, the problem for Apple is not to kill its sales during the transitional market. In other words, what happens to the left-over PowerPC machines? The company got through this once before when it switched from the 68000 to the PowerPC. It did it with add-on cards, specifically the Power Macintosh Upgrade card. So I expect a similar product this time. Still, this process is going to be bumpy, but with iPod and iTunes mania propping up the company, this is the exact right time to do this. The company can weather any storms in the process.

The iPod may, as Bill Gates thinks, turn out to be a flash in the pan – a big hit before microdrive-enabled cell phones become out portable mp3 players. But that won’t happen for probably another couple years. Meanwhile, those fat profits ought to keep Apple afloat during the changeover period.

The big question is, could Mactel

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Carefree Days of Summer

June 7th, 2005 - 10:20 am

“Mucinex” comes from the Latin for “I coughed up that?”

Sunday’s head cold spent maybe 24 hours in my head, then apparently lost its lease and had to move down to my chest. It’s taken up a happy residence there.

Last year, when Melissa had this thing, it got so bad that I went to the pharmacy in a state of near-panic. Correction: Near-sleeplessness, with maybe a little panic thrown in that neither of us would ever sleep again. Her coughing got so bad that, even with her in the guest room across the hall, both of us were up all night.

I grabbed the pharmacist by the sleeve and told him, “I need the best expectorant/cough suppressant you can give me over the counter.”

“You need Mucinex.”

It’s an ugly name, sure. It sounds like some piece of extra ugly Soviet military gear. “Sergeant, get your men and take that hill!” “But sir, they have a Mucinex up there!” On the other hand, the stuff works. After she took the stuff, Melissa and I both slept through the night

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From the Boston Globe:

During last year’s presidential campaign, John F. Kerry was the candidate often portrayed as intellectual and complex, while George W. Bush was the populist who mangled his sentences.

But newly released records show that Bush and Kerry had a virtually identical grade average at Yale University four decades ago.

In 1999, The New Yorker published a transcript indicating that Bush had received a cumulative score of 77 for his first three years at Yale and a roughly similar average under a non-numerical rating system during his senior year.

Kerry, who graduated two years before Bush, got a cumulative 76 for his four years, according to a transcript that Kerry sent to the Navy when he was applying for officer training school. He received four D’s in his freshman year out of 10 courses, but improved his average in later years.

The transcript shows that Kerry’s freshman-year average was 71. He scored a 61 in geology, a 63 and 68 in two history classes, and a 69 in political science. His top score was a 79, in another political science course. Another of his strongest efforts, a 77, came in French class.

But of course.

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What She Said

June 7th, 2005 - 4:51 am

Megan McArdle:

To journalists ten or twenty years older than me, this is the long-awaited end to a grand mystery. To people my age or younger, it just doesn’t matter that much. Baby boomers, many of whom seem to have trouble accepting the fact that time has passed, often seem incredulous that the major formulating events of their lives simply aren’t that interesting to everyone else. Vietnam and Watergate have become the language of public debate, even though both ended over thirty years ago.

Megan and Hewitt (below) both mention this recent Jay Rosen column on Watergate nostalgia. Well worth checking out.

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That’s Gonna Leave A Mark

June 7th, 2005 - 4:36 am

Hugh Hewitt:

[I]t doesn’t pay enough to be a professional lefty activist, er, reporter. People get bitter as a result.

Why doesn’t it pay enough? Because the marketplace doesn’t want that product. Will MSM’s rank and file ever figure it out that their own vision of themselves is delusional? Sure, they can tell each other how noble are their efforts, how invaluable their “exposes,” but the only reliable measure is the marketplace, and “professional journalism” of the MSM variety is on the ropes. The customer isn’t interested. The reality is that journalists don’t matter all that much –and consequently aren’t paid all that much– because ordinary Americans aren’t waiting with rapt attention in anticipation of being told what to think by a bunch of reporters and producers.

Ouch. I mean, ouch.

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After several days of speculation and an unusual level of press leaks (none of which, I notice, have resulted in lawsuits), Steve Jobs announced today that Apple will be building future Macintoshes with Intel processors, moving away from the IBM/Motorola PowerPC chips that Apple has used for the last dozen years. According to Jobs, Apple has been building versions of OS X on Intel hardware for the last five years in preparation for just such a move. He demonstrated the current Mac OS running on a Pentium 4 today.

I’ll let others debate the technical aspects of the transition (Jobs, ever the marketer, assures Mac users it will be seamless–we’ll see). For the moment, I’m much more interested in this question: Can Apple survive as a software and iPod provider when it loses control of Macintosh hardware?

Yes, yes, Jobs and Apple VP Phil Schiller both say that Apple won’t let other companies build Mac clones (Schiller says today, “”We will not allow running Mac OS X on anything other than an Apple computer,”) but I doubt very much that they’ll have much of a choice.

Very shortly after an x86 (i.e. Intel processor) version of the Mac OS is released to developers–which will happen in a couple of weeks–it’s going to escape out into the wild. Sooner or later (I’m betting on sooner) some bright hacker or hackers are going to figure out how to get it running it on generic PC hardware, without the need for the proprietary Apple ROMs that will be included in “official” Macs.

And then it’s all over for Apple as a hardware vendor.

They can’t possibly compete with Dell and the “white box” PC manufacturers who buy commidity parts and operate on shoestring margins. Once that hack or set of hacks hits BitTorrent, that’ll be that. Anybody with a copy of them and a copy of an Intel-friendly version of OS X will be able to cobble together their own Mac clone. I won’t be at all surprised if Apple’s own first Intel boxes are priced out of the market months before they can even ship.

Apple’s profits and R&D structure are built around a business model of selling hardware at a considerable markup. What happens when those markups are completely unsustainable?

Jobs isn’t stupid. He has to know all of the above is going to happen. The question is, does he have a plan to transition Apple out of computer hardware, or is he counting on the fearsome reputation of Apple Legal to save him from the inevitable open-source cloners?

Speaking for everybody who prefers the Mac OS (and all of us who’d be just as happy running it on cheap hardware), I hope he hasn’t chosen the latter. That’d be about the quickest way to kill the Mac for good. Because like it or not and lawyers or not, it’s just a matter of time before that hack hits the web.

Full disclosure: I worked for Apple for a few months in 1993 (which was fun, and I left on good terms), and I shamelessly stole this post’s title from a comment on Slashdot.

UPDATE: Jeff Harrell, who actually knows what he’s talking about, thinks I’m all wet on this one. Check the comments for some good stuff from Jeff and others.

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June 6th, 2005 - 9:58 am

There’s a nasty summer headcold going around, and Melissa and I both caught it. And she’s not allowed to take anything stronger than Tylenol. I am — and have.

Back once it wears off, maybe. Or maybe just another dose.

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… and there was much rejoicing.

Yes, that’s right folks, Lileks is putting out two, count ‘em–two blogs for the price of none, with the happy-go-lucky Bleat now joined by something a bit more pointed. From today’s inaugural Screedblog:

I can imagine in late 2001 asking a question of myself in 2005:


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Absolut Sith

June 6th, 2005 - 5:54 am

Meet John Kovalic, a dork after our own hearts. Or livers. Or something.

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Required Reading

June 3rd, 2005 - 10:07 am


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I Told You So

June 3rd, 2005 - 9:33 am

Is the mighty euro headed for a fall? Maybe:

ROME (Reuters) – Italy should consider leaving the single currency and reintroducing the lira, Welfare Minister Roberto Maroni said in a newspaper interview on Friday.

Maroni, a member of the euro-skeptical Northern League party, told the Repubblica daily Italy should hold a referendum to decide whether to return to the lira, at least temporarily.

He also said European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet was one of those chiefly responsible for the “disaster of the euro.”

The euro “has proved inadequate in the face of the economic slowdown, the loss of competitiveness and the job crisis,” Maroni said.

Don’t make too much of this story – Maroni’s Northern League party is a bit of a crank. It doesn’t just want out of the eurozone; it wants out of Italy. No, really. The party was formed to split Italy in two, north and south. But his complaint is still valid.

Before the euro, Italy kept its boutique manufacturing base competitive by devaluing the lira as often as necessary. That’s why a glass of cheap red wine used to cost something like 3 trillion lira. Things got so bad that, one time, the entire nation ran out of zeros.

Anyway, the euro prevents Italy from devaluing their currency – and their current recession is the predictable result.

So why the “I Told You So” headline? Because I did just that, back when this blog was all of a week old.

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June 3rd, 2005 - 9:17 am

Cat Without Coffee

There's a cat in my soup.

Slow news day.

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New Blogs

June 1st, 2005 - 10:48 pm

Tim Peters is a regular commenter around here, and one of my favorite email correspondents. He lives in Alaska, he owns a fine camera, and so it should come as no surprise that he’s started his own (and quite good) photoblog.

Check it out – the guy has got some real talent.

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Mail Bag

June 1st, 2005 - 10:14 pm

John Scalzi sent me a review copy of Agent to the Stars while we were out of town – and I just noticed the package yesterday. Already, I’m 50 pages in – this, for a guy who doesn’t much like Hollywood agents or gelatinous space aliens.

So what’s it like? It’s like Friday without the sex talk, or Tricky Business without the cruise ship. What I mean to say is, it’s light, breezy, and laugh-out-loud fun to read.

You can read it for free here, or buy yourself a special limited edition here.

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Whither Europe?

June 1st, 2005 - 9:55 pm

It’s all too easy to be a pessimist on Europe these days

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